Stanley Kubrick would have been 86 today. Some are taken from us much too soon.
My visit to Krakow, Poland last month coincided with central Europe’s only stop of EXHIBITION: Stanley Kubrick, the first comprehensive exhibit focusing on the work of the legendary director. About 1,000 pieces make up the collection which ends a four-month run at the National Museum in Krakow on 14 September. I know I’m not alone in listing Kubrick on the shortest of short lists of personal favorite directors. No other American director has earned the widespread respect and critical acclaim that Kubrick commands.
The exhibit provides a comprehensive biography and filmography, from his self taught beginnings in New York where he worked as photographer straight out of high school to his final film Eyes Wide Shut, whose final edit wasn’t quite finished when he died suddenly on March 7, 1999 at 70. He worked 18-hour days to complete the film, prompting some to say that he simply worked himself to death.
Kubrick covered numerous genres and dealt with a variety of topics, and did them all exceptionally well and with meticulous precision. Most were ground-breaking and visionary works whose freshness has yet to lose its veneer. He was innovative as well behind the scenes, responsible for numerous key technological advances in film-making. Watching people half my age and younger enthralled by the exhibit —a collection of scripts, props, photos, lenses, cameras, outtakes and film excerpts—- was a testament to the timelessness of his finest work —Dr. Strangelove, A Clockwork Orange, The Shining.